Seoul, seismographs, and Slinkys; French revenge, charted; America’s SOF casualty, named; Sana’a endures heaviest bombings yet; and just a bit more.
- Russia alters Syria bombing plan; Taliban are not interested in peace; DoD playing the long game in Asia; USAF open to F-22 restart; and a bit more.
- Taliban appoint a new leader; Not all Taliban like this new leader; Eyes on Raqqa—and the nearby Kurds; SOCOM wants to predict the future; Moral risk and the citizen soldier; And a bit more.
- Another Taliban leader reportedly dead; Are US troops cleared hot vs. Taliban, or not?; Human shields in Fallujah; USSOF ‘invade’ Florida; And a bit more.
South Korean military officials now want “strategic weapons” from the U.S. as part of their response to whatever bomb Pyongyang allegedly tested Tuesday evening. Officials declined to elaborate when pressed for details—though the Associated Press suggested the request could include “B-52 bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and nuclear-powered submarines.”
Reuters notes: “After North Korea last tested a nuclear device, in 2013, Washington sent a pair of nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on a sortie over South Korea in a show of force…South Korea, technically in a state of war against the North, said it was not considering a nuclear deterrent of its own, despite calls from ruling party leaders.” And the U.S., for its part, “is highly unlikely to restore the tactical nuclear missiles it removed from South Korea in 1991.”
White House Security Council officials disputed North Korea’s H-bomb claim on Wednesday, saying the “initial data from its monitoring stations in Asia were ‘not consistent’ with a test of a hydrogen bomb,” the New York Times reported.
Let the propaganda begin again. South Korea said it will resume its cross-border anti-North messaging that drew Pyongyang’s ire back in August, when Seoul briefly resumed its broadcasts after an 11-year lull. More from AP, here.
UN Security Council officials, meanwhile, say they’re working up a draft resolution—with the backing of the North’s traditional ally, China—though further details remain scant at this juncture. Agence France-Presse has that read, here.
How to tell the difference between an nuclear bomb test and an earthquake. Defense One Technology Editor Patrick Tucker suggests you start by putting a Slinky on the floor — stay with us here — and learn about the differences in waveforms between natural and manmade seismic events, and why the preliminary data suggests that the event in North Korea was not, in fact, the end of the world. Read on, here.
A man was shot dead by Paris police this morning when he attempted an attack on a police station exactly one year “to the day since jihadist gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo newspaper,” AFP reports.
“The man reportedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and was carrying a knife and possibly wearing what appeared to be an explosives vest,” the interior ministry said. Officials told the AP the man was wearing some kind of vest with “wires protruding from his body” when he attempted his ill-fated attack while wielding a butcher knife. So far, police have found no explosives on the man’s body. AP is rolling up all the latest on the attack, here.
Take a glimpse at what “French revenge” looks like now a year out from the Charlie Hebdo massacre with this superb overview from U.S. News’ Paul Shinkman. The bottom line up front: France, like the U.S., “has clearly not prioritized the air war against the Islamic State group as much as it’s prioritized its rhetoric,” said Chris Harmer, a former Navy pilot now with the Institute for the Study of War.
From Defense One
Pentagon transfers two Guantanamo detainees to Ghana. Those transfers, the first of 17 planned for coming days, shrank the prison population to 105 — and marked the first transfer to a sub-Saharan country. Defense One Politics Reporter Molly O’Toole discusses why things only get harder from here.
The Pentagon wants its next global communication systems to be agile and open. The Defense Information Systems Agency is looking to turn off its old intelligence-sharing system, currently maintained primarily by Northrop Grumman, and bring the new one fully into the 21st century. From NextGov, here.
Welcome to Thursday’s edition of the The D Brief, by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. Get your friends off on the right foot in 2016 by telling them to subscribe here: http://get.defenseone.com/d-brief/. Want to see something different this year? Got news? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pentagon has named the U.S. Special Forces soldier killed in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday: “Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, 30, of Des Moines, Wash., was killed Tuesday during a joint U.S.-Afghan operation in the city of Marja when his unit came under small-arms fire,” the Washington Post reports.
“McClintock belonged to Alpha Company of 1st Battalion, 19th Group, a National Guard Special Forces unit based out of Fort Lewis, Wash.,” WaPo writes, adding that he left active duty less than two years ago.
“Staff Sergeant McClintock was one of the best of the best,” Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington National Guard, said in a statement Thursday. “He was a Green Beret who sacrificed time away from his loved ones to train for and carry out these dangerous missions. This is a tough loss for our organization, and a harsh reminder that ensuring freedom is not free. We stand with Staff Sergeant McClintock’s family, and will provide ongoing support during the grieving and healing process.” More here.
Yemen’s capital of Sana’a endured its heaviest airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition since Riyadh stepped up its war next door roughly nine months ago. And Iran this morning says at least one of those strikes hit its embassy—a claim the AP said it could see no evidence of when visiting the scene Thursday morning.
“The strikes pounded the presidential palace and a mountain military base to the south of the city, causing children and teachers in several schools to flee for their lives,” Reuters reports.
Overnight, “A new front opened in the nine-month-old civil war when forces loyal to the embattled Saudi-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, landed by sea at the Red Sea port of Maydee near the border with Saudi Arabia late on Wednesday… Hadi’s forces attempted to push out from Maydee’s port, pounded for weeks by air strikes and naval shelling, into the surrounding city, but ran into heavy Houthi resistance and landmines, residents told Reuters by telephone.” More from the scene, here.
And here’s one you may not have seen coming: What explains the dangerous Saudi-Iranian conflict? Plankton. That’s according to M.R. Izady, a cartographer and adjunct master professor at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School/Joint Special Operations University in Florida. Izady produced a map of “what lies beneath” and where, and the folks at The Intercept provide the context.
“What the map shows is that, due to a peculiar correlation of religious history and anaerobic decomposition of plankton, almost all the Persian Gulf’s fossil fuels are located underneath Shiites,” they write. “This is true even in Sunni Saudi Arabia, where the major oil fields are in the Eastern Province, which has a majority Shiite population. As a result, one of the Saudi royal family’s deepest fears is that one day Saudi Shiites will secede, with their oil, and ally with Shiite Iran.” Read the report in full, here.
A massive car bomb exploded this morning near a police base in western Libya, killing at least 60 police and wounding another 200, AP reports. ISIS is believed to be behind the attack, though no claims of responsibility have yet emerged. More here.
The U.S. is giving Nigeria 24 MRAPs to help fight Boko Haram. Worth about $11 million, the mammoth armored vehicles are designed to withstand landmines like the ones strewn by Boko Haram along the border with Cameroon. AP has the story, here.
Lastly today—No “Nintendo medal” for U.S. military drone operators. “The Pentagon has firmly rejected the idea of giving drone pilots and cyber warriors their own medal, and instead will offer a new ‘R’ device to pin on existing noncombat medals,” Military Times reports, here.